What to Look for in a Home Office During the House Buying Process
Having a “wish list” of features is common for home buyers. A spacious living room, a farmhouse sink, cathedral ceilings, and countless other architectural elements factor into each home buying decision.
If you work from home, it’s important to include home office features on your list as well. Some of these can be essential items while others can merely be preferences. In either case, it’s a good idea to have them all in mind before you start home shopping.
Here are a few remote office elements — both essential and non-essential — that you should have in mind.
Before you start looking at office spaces within a home, you want to consider if the home itself is suited to a remote work scenario. Many factors on a typical homebuyer checklist can also double on a work-from-home one, too.
For instance, does the home have an HVAC system? If it’s heated with, say, a wood stove in the basement, that could mean an office on the second floor gets particularly chilly during the winter.
If you’re building a home from scratch, you can make your house whatever you want, budget allowing. Otherwise, you have to figure out the existing issues in a current home, as well. For example, an older home could suffer from things like poor ventilation or sketchy electrical work. This can impact the quality of your workspace air and your ability to plug in all of your workplace gadgets, respectively.
It’s always a good idea to run over the bones of a potential home to make sure it’s suited for remote work before you start considering actual home office spaces.
A Separate Office Space
The next thing that you want to look for is an area that can function strictly as a home office. This is important, as you don’t want to have to set up shop in a living space of the home unless you absolutely have to. While it isn’t a need for everyone, a designated workspace is a very important part of maintaining work-life balance for most remote workers.
As you look for a good home office space, keep in mind, too, that more isn’t always better. On the contrary, there’s no need to soak up a huge part of your living space for your work needs. Rather than focusing on the size of the space itself, look for a closed-off and isolated area that you can designate as a work zone. This will allow you to set boundaries between your work-life and your personal life.
Good Internet Access
Internet access is absolutely essential for a work-from-home scenario. Without an internet connection, you can’t connect to the remote work world. Start by ensuring that a house has good broadband availability and, ideally, more than one provider. This gives you options if your current internet service provider isn’t coming through on a level that is required for your work.
Just because a home has internet (most all of them do these days) doesn’t mean you’re all set. You want to find an area that can serve as your office. And then make sure that you can get a good internet connection in that space.
If possible, look for ways to run an ethernet cable directly to your electronics. A hardwire connection is always preferred to a wireless one. If you do have to depend on your Wi-Fi, make sure you’re not going to be half a house away from your router.
Plenty of Lighting
Light is a critical part of a well-functioning, fun home office. Not only does it illuminate your working space. Light can also help you stay awake, alert, and positive during the workday.
As you review the various areas of your home that you could work in, always consider the available lighting. Start with natural light. Look for windows and evaluate how much sunlight you’ll get during the day.
On top of that, consider how well you can light the office when you’re working early or into the wee hours of the night. Can you artificially brighten the room easily? Will you need to get a floor or desk lamp? Can you update, improve, or add to the built-in lighting in the room without too much difficulty? These are all important questions that you should consider before committing to a certain kind of home office.
Buying a Remote Office
If you work from home, the home buying process also becomes the work buying process. You aren’t just purchasing a living space. You’re also getting a workspace where you’ll spend a good portion of the 90,000 hours of work that you’ll put in over your lifetime.
It doesn’t matter if you’re an employee that occasionally works from home, a fully self-employed individual who runs their own home-based business, or anything in between. If you work from home at times, it’s important to keep that factor in your mind as you house hunt.
This guest post was authored by Ainsley Lawrence
Ainsley is a writer who loves to talk about how business and professionalism intersect with the personal, social, and technological needs of today. She is frequently lost in a good book.